Signage Terms

Access Mode

In Network Manager Enterprise Edition, a setting that allows users to determine which of several logged-in users is the one permitted to modify settings within the program at that time.


in Network Manager Enterprise Edition and in Windows, a set of privileges associated with a particular user.


Microsoft’s graphic driver software, used by the Windows Media Player, for playback of various types of animation formats, which may or may not include sound. ActiveMovie includes support for AVI, most QuickTime, and software MPEG animations; other formats can be added through the ActiveMovie plug-in architecture. (ActiveMovie is not required for support of FLI/FLC and AnimGIF formats.) InfoChannel works with any format for which there is ActiveMovie support installed.


Microsoft’s technology for enhancing interactive control, primarily in Web browsers and other network-oriented interactive software applications. iplay uses ActiveX for playback within a browser.

Ad channels

TV channels dedicated to running advertisements. Ad channels are semi-automated great sources of revenue for local Cable TV companies. Ad channel applications include Real Estate Channels, Cable Personals, Cable Classifieds, Cars Channels, etc.

Advertising displays

any location-based display that carries advertising. Scala specializes in remotely updateable signage, but advertising displays can be anything, including… End Caps, ATM Toppers, Posters, Billboards, Point-of-purchase displays (pop displays), Cardboard displays


an option that helps keep underlined text legible. An outline that is the color of the background (“air”), is applied to the letters of underlined text. When the color of the text and the underline is the same, the air keeps the text and underline from blending together.


in the Network Manager health monitoring system, a status message that is sent to report an error or some other unexpected condition. See also heartbeat.


the position of an element, or the lines in a multi-line text element, in relationship to left and/or right margins.


a sequence of frames that, when played in order at sufficient speed, presents a smoothly moving image like a film or video. An animation can be digitized video, computer-generated graphics, or a combination.


an animation in the FLC or AnimGIF format which has been loaded as a clip. Like clips, animclips can be moved and sized; like animations, their speed and other animation parameters can be controlled. See also movieclip.


an animation in the GIF format, capable of automatic looping playback. See also GIF.

Arrow keys

the keys on the PC keyboard with directional arrows on them, used to move and highlight items on the screen.


(American Standard Code for Information Interchange) the universal standard for representing text letters, numerals, punctuation marks and control instructions in computer storage and communication.

ATM toppers

video screens built into ATMs (automatic teller machines) which run advertising and other information independent of the ATM.


a characteristic of a style that you can modify; for example, the degree of slant in the italic style.


In marketing, possible viewers of an ad. This is sometimes used loosely with the word ‘target’ to suggest possible catchments of future buying consumers. The key word is ‘possible’. Some studies have indicated for example that only 7% of audiences are actually seeing TV and that 23% of time golf programming plays to an empty room. A study by the American Academy of Advertising noted that only 7% of TV viewers attended to a commercial break (6% ignored and 86% actively avoided).

Authoring station

a machine running software, used for authoring and publishing the scripts that are sent to Players

Authoring system

Software for assembling multimedia applications

Authoring tools

authoring tools usually refers to computer software that helps multimedia developers create products. Authoring tools are different from computer programming languages in that they are supposed to reduce the amount of programming expertise required in order to be productive. Some authoring tools use visual symbols and icons in flowcharts to make programming easier. Others use a slide show environment


AVI is an early Microsoft video file format, that stands for Audio Video Interleave.

Back channel

a data pathway through which a Player can send information back to Network Manager.


an optional adjustable rectangular area of color behind a screen element.


the graphic image or plain color used as the basis for a screen page in InfoChannel, on which elements are placed.


The amount of data that is able to be sent over a network, measured in Kilobytes and Megabytes per second (Kbps and Mbps). Modern low bandwidth communications include dialup modems and ISDN, ranging from 56Kbps to 128Kbps, but actual downloading times are closer to 1/10th of this speed. High-speed cable modems, DSL, T-1, and Satellite are much faster, by factors of as little as 10 or even higher than 100.

Baud Rate

a measure of the speed of serial communication using a modem or null-modem, roughly equivalent to bits per second.


a three-dimensional effect that can be applied to text elements and clips in the application.


a type of connection in which Network Manager sends information to many Players all at once, rather than making a separate connection to each Player one at a time.


the basic unit of computer storage, comprising eight bits. Typically, a byte can store one character of text, or one pixel. In InfoChannel, the unit used to express the size of files.


Cable TV channels run for the sole purpose of advertising real estate, automobiles for sale, or other classifieds. Cable classified channels are often a source of supplementary income. Several cable classified channels can be run in a semi-automated fashion by a single cable company, and produce new revenue streams. Scala and its resellers offer products for running Cable Classified Channels.


A data and communications cable adopted by the Telecommunications Industry Association and ISO (International Standards Organization). This version of Category 5 uses all four pairs of wires to both send and recieve. This version is formally called ANSI/TIA/EIA 568A-5 or simply Category 5e. Category 5e operates at up to 350MHZ.


a script that has been published in such a way that when its contents change, the updated material is forwarded to machines running the viewer that have subscribed to the channel.

character generator

a device for creating text on video. Character gnerators are often used to make information channels and electronic bulletin boards for TV and Cable.

closed circuit television

Traditionally, a private television network broadcasted internally within an organization. Modern narrowcasting solutions work over the Internet, deploying custom video and messaging anywhere in the world.


a software module responsible for compressing and/or decompressing an encoded media format such as AVI digital video.

color depth

the number of possible colors in a graphic image, stored as a given number of bits per pixel. A color depth of 8 bits provides 256 colors; 16 bits (also known as “High Color”) provides about 65,000 colors; 24 bits (also known as “True Color”) provides about 16,000,000 colors.

color palette

a set of colors that make up an image or animation, or the set of colors available to be applied to elements on a page.

confirmed broadcasting

broadcasting in which there is a back channel through which Players can respond to transmissions with confirmation or error messages. See also back channel.


a set of communications parameters that can be named and saved for use with different Players.


the segment of text that moves through a Text Crawl element box.


(Cathode Ray Tube) CRTs are the glass vacuum picture tubes inside televisions and computer monitors. They are based on the emission of a magnetically targeted stream of electrons from the back of the picture tube on to phosphors located on at the front. The electron hittings the phosphors causes the emission of light with a vibrancy still unrivalled by competing technologies, such as gas plasma displays and liquid crystal displays. The big draw-back of CRTs is their large depth of the glass picture tube required for the projection of the stream of electrons. The big advantage of CRTs is price. TVs are less expensive than the competition.


Broadcast of digital information over networks to receivers and players. Datacasting is sometimes used as an alternative to traditional video broadcasting, because the receivers and player units can have the “intelligence” to customize their playback programming for the location and intended audience. The system of receivers set up to receive messages from a particular datacast are known as Datacasting Networks, which are a venue for advertisers.

digital dynamic signage

Digital dynamic signage is a term used to describe the emerging industry where flat panel devices such as plasma screens and liquid crystal displays are used as moving posters, electronic bulletin boards, and the like.

digital dynamic signs

Digital dynamic signs are flat panel devices, such as gas plasma display panels or liquid crystal displays that are being used in signage applications. That is to say, digital dynamic signs are flat panel TVs being used as signs.

digital instore merchandising

Digital in-store merchandising refers the use of digital audio/visual equipment in retail environments to help compete for consumer attention. Increasingly, flat panel display devices, such as plasma screens, liquid crystal displays (LCDs), and LED (light emitting diodes) signs are being used to fill all available merchandising “real estate”.

digital media network

The term digital media network can refer to anything from multiple websites, to multiple television stations being centrally owned and operated. With the reduction in cost of custom controllable player devices, a new breed of digital media network is emerging, known under many different terms. The industry appears to be settling on the term digital signage to describe these new digital media networks, where custom images are digitally delivered to sign-like devices located throughout retail environments, or the enterprise.

digital signage

an industry whereby plasma display panels (PDPs), liquid crystal displays (LCDs), computer monitors and normal televisions are used to replace and enhance traditional signs. The advantages of digital signage include the rapid ability to update content, and the ability to deliver specific messages to specific audiences in specific locations. Digital signage is helping to merge the industries of advertising networks and point of purchase display merchandising. While some digital signage networks require the constant and costly production and distribution of digital video.

digital signage network

A digital signage network is a series of interconnected flat panel screens or televisions that are presented similar to traditional signs, but can be controlled from a remote location to deliver dynamically changing content.

digital signage networks

a grouping and/or network of digital signage.

digital signs

Plasma display panels (PDPs), liquid crystal displays (LCDs), light emitting diode signs (LEDs), or traditional television (CRTs) being used like signage. That is, instead of tuning in a television station, they are showing specially prepared visual images to make them function like signs. This gives the operator of these signs the ability to update them quickly, and to use engaging content.

dynamic signage

Literally means, moving signs, and now covers two fields. The first is the novelty field of moving kinetic signage, such as billboards with moving parts. The second refers to the increasingly common use of plasma display panels (PDPs), liquid crystal displays (LCDs), or other flat screen displays as signs. These signs can display video and other moving images. Dynamic signage is an emerging field, and is still being defined. Often times, the advantage of dynamic signage is lost by the use of mind-numbing repeating loops that quickly lose audience appeal. The true advantage of dynamic signage come in always delivering content that is fresh and relevant to the target audience, which may change by location or time of day. This customized content delivery is cost-prohibitive with traditional video production and animation. Consequently, multimedia software such as Scala is frequently being turned to as a way to produce multimedia messaging more quickly than by any other means.

electronic billboards

billboards that can be updated electronically. This term covers a wide array of products. Sometimes it is used to refer to television channels run by computers, and sometimes it refers to very large screen video displays actually being used outdoors as billboards. Both are growing trends in advertising.

electronic signage

When digital media such as plasma display panels (PDP), liquid crystal displays (LCD) or light emitting diodes (LED) are used to replace traditional signs. Advantages include increased visual arresting power, rapidly updateable, and the ability to construct large digital signage media networks.

file format

the structure of a file, which defines the way it is stored and used. Generally, a file-type extension to the file name identifies the format. For example, some common bitmap graphics file formats supported by InfoChannel are BMP, GIF, TIF, PCX, and JPG. Common animation formats are AVI, FLI, FLC and MPG. A common audio file format is WAV.

flat panel signage

Refers to using flat panel electronic display devices, such as plasma display panels (PDPs) or liquid crystal displays (LCDs) in place of traditional signs. Advantages include the ability to update messaging rapidly and to deliver scheduled messaging to targeted audiences.


(File Transfer Protocol) a standard protocol for transferring data over the Internet. To use FTP, FTP software must be set up on both sending and receiving ends of an FTP transmission, and the client (initiator) must have a username, password and a valid target address on the server.

FTP server

a computer that can receive requests for an FTP link from a client machine, or the software on that machine that allows it to do so. IIS includes FTP server capability. Also called an FTP host. See also IIS.


images such as symbols, drawings, diagrams, photographs and clip art.


(high definition television) The next generation of video content, capable of almost three times the clarity and resolution of standard NTSC broadcasts.High Color – a setting describing graphics that have 16-bit color, providing up to approximately 65,000 colors in the image

hit area

the area of an interactive button that responds when the mouse pointer passes over it or clicks on it. This can be a rectangular area surrounding the button, or an irregular area defined by pixels in the button image.

Information Display Systems

Technology used to display information on screens for communication.


(Liquid Crystal Display) LCDs are thin displays used for TV, computer monitors, wristwatches, digital thermometers, microwaves, digital signage, and countless other technologies — possibly the most common and diverse electronic flat screen technology in use today. LCDs contain two thin transparent surfaces (usually glass), with grooves full of a liquid crystal substance. Thin film transistors (TFTs) on the surface material apply an electric current to the liquid crystals. This current will polarize the crystals, making them twist. This twisting blocks light. When off, the liquid crystals go into random alignment and let light pass through.

LCD projection panel

a portable display unit that is placed on top of an overhead projector and connected to a computer so that the computer’s display can be projected onto a large screen.


(light emitting diode) diodes are electronic components that let electricity pass in only one direction. Light emitting diodes are diodes that emit visible light when electricity is applied, similar to a light bulb. When many LEDs are side-by-side, they can create pictures, such as the scrolling red LED signs found everywhere. LED displays are often confused with LCDs (liquid crystal displays), but they are different technologies.

location based advertising

the placement of advertisements near an actionable location. In other words, location based advertising deals with strategically placing messaging near where buyer behavior can be most immediately influenced, and converted into a sale. This most often applies in retail settings, such as shopping malls.

multimedia displays

TVs, plasma display panels, LCDs or other video display device delivering multimedia conent, often connected to a computer and touch screen.

multimedia signs

Multimedia signs are a growing trend in the signage industry, where televisions or flat panel display devices such as plasma screens or liquid crystal displays, are turned into updatable signage. Advantages of multimedia signs include the ability to deliver messaging to targeted audiences depending on schedule or environmental conditions. For example, advertise umbrellas when it’s raining.


(point of purchase) The term point of purchase usually refers to the industry concerned with customer behavior at the location of the purchase decision. POP is considered one of the most important aspects of advertising and merchandising. It is believed that the most critical time to influence buyer behavior is when they have money in hand.


(Plasma Display Panels) PDPs, also known as gas plasma displays or plasma screens, are flat screen display devices that are used for television, computer monitors, and dynamic signage. They consist of two layers of glass surrounding cells of xenon and neon glass. Surrounding electrodes switch the cells on and off, causing them to emit light and create the picture. This emitted light makes PDPs have an appealing vibrancy that competes with Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs), the technology of traditional televisions.


Just as solids, liquids and gases are states of matter, plasma is a state of matter. Specifically, plasma is ionized gas. That is, gas that has been given an electrical charge by being stripped of electrons. Such ionized gas is the most abundant observable form of matter in the universe, being a main ingredient in stars and nebulas. And as if we’re not already seeing enough of the stuff, it’s also what goes inside those flat panel displays called “plasmas” that are popping up all around us. Why? Because when you apply an electromagnetic field to plasma, it glows, making for a nice, vibrant TV screen, computer monitor, or digital signage.

plasma display panels

Plasma display panels are components in the current generation of flat panel televisions, computer monitors, and digital signage. They consist of a material called “plasma”, which is an electrically charged noble gas (usually argon, xenon, or neon) sandwiched in millions of compartments between 2 panes of transistor-covered glass. An electrical charge is applied to the gas to make it glow red, green, or blue. This is similar both to how neon signs work (the application of an electrical charge to a noble gas), and how cathode ray tube (CRT) works, in illuminating cells red, green or blue to create an image.


the file-type extension for images in the PNG (pronounced “ping”) format. PNG is a relatively new and advanced format, featuring both compression and extensibility.

Polling interval

the length of time that may elapse before a Player checks for a certain condition, such as whether a job has been delivered to its job folder, or whether its script has been updated.


a standard developed to allow imaging devices such as scanners and digital cameras to communicate with PCs